This article is part of our Football Draft Kit series.
The basic strategy for success in fantasy football appears to be changing. Where once securing two workhorse running backs with your top two picks was optimal, now multiple quarterbacks are flying off the board in the first round, and even tight ends are going in the second. Meanwhile, the era of the every-down running back appears to be dead.
The question then is whether this is an enduring paradigm shift, or a case of fantasy owners merely overreacting to recent short-term trends. To answer that, let's examine these trends in more detail:
Tight ends being drafted in the first two rounds.
Last season saw two tight ends shatter the existing records for the position. Rob Gronkowski set single-season records for both touchdown receptions (17) and receiving yards (1,327) from a tight end, and Jimmy Graham wasn't far behind with 1,310 yards and 10 touchdowns. Both are routinely going in the top 20 in fantasy drafts, which is unprecedented; only once has a tight end been taken within the first 30 picks since 1988 (Tony Gonzalez had an average draft position (ADP) of 28.76 in 2001).
But it's not just those two tight ends having big seasons. The tight end position overall has been on the rise. Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams, passing has continued to climb in the NFL. But the increase in passing yardage hasn't risen equally at each position. Wide receivers as a whole are putting up about the same yardage each year, and receiving